Utah State Railroad Museum Specialty Cars

(An unofficial mirrored version of information removed from the official Golden Spike Chapter R&LHS web site; pages removed after August 2013; recovered via Archive.org's Wayback Machine.)

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In 1947, citizens of the U. S. sent aid to France through a private relief effort. the French responded in 1949 with the "French Gratitude Train" or "The Merci Train". It consisted of 49 box cars sent to each state filled with items donated by the people of France. This is Utah's car also known as a 40 and 8 car because it could hold 48 men or 8 horses. It was built in the 1870's or 80's by Chantier de la Buire (Builders of Buire) at Lyons, France. They were used in World Wars I and II. The car resided in Salt lake City for 52 years until damaged by a tornado in the late 90's. It was then stored at the State Parks Department lot. A group of local veterans, calling themselves the "40 & 8",were able to obtain the car and move it to the museum for restoration on June 22, 2002. The project is virtually complete.




The torch car was originally built for 1996 Atlanta Olympics torch train. The car was rebuilt in Kansas City , using the original car as the base. The wall and the cauldron were replaced and applied the new design scheme for the 2002 Olympics. Several mechanical changes were made also. The biggest challenges was making sure the cauldron would stay lit while running at 70 MPH and not go out. Seven propane tanks were used, each holding 250 gals. They can provide enough fuel to last for 3 days. Electrical work also was done to make the cauldron more visible at night and a sound system was installed.